Love/Karma/Physical body

It is possible to observe, in all details, how the tendencies that were present in one life, work, in the next, on the physical body. A person who is disposed to love everything around him, who is loving to all creatures, who pours out love, will have in the next incarnation a physical body that remains young and fresh until late in life. Love for all beings, the cultivation of sympathy, gives rise to a physical body that preserves its youthful vigour. A man who is full of antipathy against other human beings, who criticises and grumbles at everything, trying to keep aloof from it all, produces, as the result of these tendencies, a physical body that ages and becomes wrinkled prematurely. Thus are the tendencies and passions of one life carried over to the physical, bodily life of subsequent incarnations.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 99 – Theosophy of the Rosicrucian – VI: The Law of Destiny – Berlin, 30th May 1907

Translated by M. Cotterell & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on March 31, 2016

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A sharp two-edged sword (2 – End)

But on the other hand we must not forget that the “I” is at the same time that which gives man his independence and his inner freedom, which in the truest sense of the word elevates him. His dignity is founded in this “I,” it is the basis of the Divine in man. […]  Thus the “I” will be the pledge for the highest goal of man. But at the same time, if it does not discover love, if it hardens within itself, it is the tempter that plunges him into the abyss.

For it is that which separates men from one another which brings them to the great War of All against All, not only to the war of nation against nation (for the conception of a nation will then no longer have the significance it possesses to-day) but to the war of each single person against every other person in every branch of life; to the war of class against class, of caste against caste and sex against sex.

Thus in every field of life the “I” will become the apple of discord; and hence we may say that it can lead on the one hand to the highest and on the other hand to the lowest. For this reason it is a sharp two-edged sword.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 104 – The Apocalypse of  St. John: Lecture VIII – Nuremberg, 25th June 1908

Translated by M. Cotterell

Previously posted on February 19, 2016

The free choice between good and evil

If it were impossible for man to sink into the abyss of evil, he would not have been able to attain what on the one hand we call love and on the other freedom; since to the occultist freedom is inseparably connected with the idea of love. It would be impossible for man to develop either love or freedom without the possibility of sailing down into the abyss. A man unable, of his own free decision, to choose good or evil, would be a being who would only be led on a leading-string to a good which must be attained of necessity and who had no power to choose the good of his own fully purified will, by the love which springs from freedom.

If it were impossible for man to follow in the trail of the monster with the two horns, it would also be impossible for him to follow God out of his own individual love. It was in accordance with a wise Providence to give the possibility of freedom to the humanity which has been developing through our planetary system, and this possibility of freedom could be given on no other condition than that man himself has to make the free choice between good and evil.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 104 – The Apocalypse of St. John – Lecture XII – Nuremberg, 30th June 1908

Translated by M. Cotterell

Previously posted on November 23, 2016

There is no worse phrase than this: ‘just look into yourself.’

There is no worse phrase than this: ‘look deep into yourself. ‘There one finds, however, only the lower self. One must seek lovingly outside oneself, and then one will find what one is seeking. I have known people who said: ‘what do I need? I don’t need anything at all, because I’m Atma (soul). ‘– and even though they constantly say “Atma, I’m Atma”, they do not become conscious of Atma, all they know about it is that it is a word with four letters. It leads to closing oneself off when gazing into yourself. For we are part of the whole. The finger is only finger because it is part of the body. If we separate it from the organism, then it is no longer a finger. The finger does not separate itself from the organism; but the human being is so “clever” that he believes that he could detach himself from the earth, although if he is just a few kilometers above the surface of the earth, he perishes. […] It is the worst possible mistake to want to find the god within yourself. Losing oneself through entering into all the details of the world, that is the right path. He who dedicates him or herself to love and humility will find godliness, while he who seeks God in himself, hardens.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 98 – Natur- und Geistwesen – ihr Wirken in unserer sichtbaren Welt – Vienna, November 7, 1907 (page 38-39)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 26, 2016

Who is a True Christian?

Let us imagine that there is a man who knows nothing of the name of Christ Jesus, nothing of what is communicated in the Gospels, but that he understands the radical difference between the nature of wisdom and might and that of love. Such a man, even though he knows nothing of the Mystery of Golgotha, is a Christian in the truest sense. A man who knows that love is there for the paying of debts and brings no profit for the future, is a true Christian. To understand the nature of love — that is to be a Christian!

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Love and Its Meaning in the World – Zurich, 17th December, 1912

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & E.A. Frommer & S. Derry